Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

marriages he had five children,-George William, Thomas, William, Bryan, and Hannah. George William married a Miss Cary, of Virginia, but left the county before the Revolutionary War. Thomas and William died, the one in the English navy and the other in the army. Bryan took Orders in the Episcopal Church, and was for some years minister of Christ's Church, Alexandria. Hannah married Warner Washington, of Fairfield, a near relative of George Washington, and was a worthy member of our Church, leaving two sons and three daughters behind. Two of her daughters—Mrs. Milton (who was previously Mrs. Nelson) and Mrs. Whiting—were long and well known to me as among the best of women. Of their mother I have often heard Mr. Balmaine speak in the highest terms. *

The elder William Fairfax was the manager of the estates of bis kinsman, Lord Thomas Fairfax, the owner of all the lands in the Northern Neck of Virginia, which he inherited from his mother, the daughter of Lord Culpepper, and which were bounded by the Rappahannock and Potomac, extending to the head-waters of each, the one beginning in the Blue Ridge, the other in the Alleghany Mountains. Lord Fairfax was a man of the most perfect English education, Oxford being his Alma Mater. He was a member of that club of which Addison was the head, and to whose pens we are indebted for that immortal work, the Spectator. IIe was early and deeply disappointed in love, which gave a turn to his character and habits, and prepared him for seclusion in the wilds of America. In 1749, he visited his estates in Virginia, and was so much pleased with the country that he determined to settle here. During that visit he became acquainted with, and attached to, young George Washington, then only sixteen years of age. The affection was returned on the part of Washington, and he readily accepted the proposition of Lord Fairfax to become surveyor of all his lands. Lord Fairfax returned for a short time to England, while Washing


[ocr errors]

* In proof of the zeal of Mrs. Hannah Washington, of Fairfield, in the cause of religion and the Church, I might adduce a brief correspondence between herself and Mr. George Lewis, who lived at the place afterward owned by Mr. Milton, on the subject of securing the services of Mr. Balmaine in the year 1787, when steps were taken to build what has always been called The Chapel. Mrs. Washington, whose example has been followed by many good ladies in Virginia since, took an active part in some Church matters, and wrote to Mr. Lewis, proposing that, inasmuch as at least a year must elapse before the chapel could be finished, the neighbours on both sides of Battletown should unite in renting a house of a Mr. McMahon, at Traphill, for divine service, and promises to send her carpenters to fit it up for the purpose. To this Mr. Lewis readily assents, and the plan was adopted. The house was pointed out to me between forty and fifty years ago.

ton immediately repaired to his work in the valley, making his head-quarters at Greenway Court. Washington continued for two or three years in the service of Lord Fairfax, and as public surveyor for Western Virginia. At the death of Lord Fairfax, in 1781, being ninety-two years of age, the title fell to his only surviving brother, Robert, in England, and at his death, which occurred soon after, to the Rev. Bryan Fairfax, the nearest kinsman. It deserves to be mentioned of Lord Fairfax, that, titled as he was, and rich, he never failed to perform his duty as a citizen and neighbour, but, besides acting as Keeper of the Rolls for Frederick, was uniform in his attendance at Winchester, twelve miles off, as one of the magistrates of the county. The poor around him cultivated some of his lands, and received all the benefits of the same.*

To McCoy's and Cunningham’s Chapel are to be added two on the north and south branches of Shenandoah, whose location cannot now be ascertained, one in Winchester, one at Bunker's Hill, called Morgan's Chapel, of which we shall speak more fully hereafter, perhaps one called Wood's Chapel, between Winchester and Charlestown, and one at Shepherdstown, then called Mecklenburg Chapel. All these were probably begun, and some of them sufficiently completed for use, between the years 1740 and 1750. In 1768, Mr. Van Swearingen received one hundred and forty-eight pounds for completing a new church at Mecklenburg, now Shepherdstown. In the year 1768, Isaac Hite was directed to contract for a church at Leith's—place not known—for forty-nine pounds. In the year 1774, a church was ordered to be built near Cedar Creek for one hundred pounds; whether executed or not, I cannot tell. In the year 1772, it was resolved to build a church, costing two hundred and fifty-two pounds, at Carney's Spring, near Berryville, on land given by Mr. Charles Smith, which was afterward increased to four hundred and forty-nine pounds, and a contract made with Mr. John Neville, father of General Neville, and some of the materials collected on the spot. In the following year it was determined to build it at Cunningham's

* In proof of the needlessness of great landed or other possessions, let me mention the end of all Lord Fairfax's earthly property. His nephew, Colonel Martin, was his heir. In the year 1794, his estate in lands was nine thousand seven hun. ired acres.

My father's farm lay beside it. I have a letter from my father in that year to Mr. Charles Carter, of Shirly, on James River, who, it seems, thought of moving to Frederick, urging him to purchase it, as Colonel Martin had determined to sell. The price asked was forty shillings per acre, Virginia currency. The whole Northern Neck of Virginia, computed at many millions of acres, is thus reduced to less than ten thousand.

Chapel, two acres of ground being given by Colonel Hugh Nelson, of York, the then owner of the Burwell tract, and the materials moved there. Again it was resolved to build at Carney's Spring, and the materials removed a second time. The result of the controversy was that no such church was ever built, though the money was in hand. The war soon came on, and at the end of it the funds were delivered into the hands of the overseers of the poor. In the year 1762, a new stone church was contracted for in Winchester,-the same which was afterward sold in order to build the present church.

Having thus brought down the history of the church-buildings to the time of the Revolution, we will now give a list of the lay readers and vestrymen from the year 1764, when the vestry-book commences, merely premising that the county and parish of Frederick were in 1769 divided into the counties of Dunmore, afterward changed to Shenandoah, Frederick, and Berkeley, and into the parishes of Beckford, Frederick, and Norbone.

Names of the vestrymen from the year 1764 until the year 1780, when no more meetings of the vestry take place until 1785:-Isaac Hite, John Hite, John Greenleaf, Thomas Rutherford, James Keith, John Neville, Charles Smith, James Wood, Jacob Hite, Thomas Wadlington, Burr Harrison, Thomas Swearingen, Van Swearingen, Angus McDonald, Philip Bush, Frederick Conrad, George Rice, Alexander White, James Barnett, Marquis Calmes, John McDonald, Edward Snickers, Warner Washington, Joseph IIolmes, Benjamin Sedwick, Edmund Taylor, John Smith, Samuel Dowdal. Of these, Philip Bush and some others, in consequence of some unknown difficulties, resigned in the year 1774, though all of them resumed their seats except Mr. Bush. Lord Fairfax in the year 1775 made a deed to Mr. Bush, Frederick Conrad, and others, for the lot on which the Lutheran church stood, though Mr. Conrad continued as vestryman until the year 1780, when the vestries were all dissolved by Act of Assembly. James Wood, who was both clerk and vestryman, resigned in 1777 and entered the army. He rose to the rank of General, and was afterward Governor of the State, and represented the parish two years in Convention while Governor. James Barnett resigned in 1773 and joined the Baptists.

The lay readers during all this period, at the different chapels, were John Rudell, James Barnett, John Barns, Henry Nelson, James Graham, Henry Frencham, Morgan Morgan, John James, William Dobson, William Howard, John Lloyd.


Ie was

The Rev. Mr. Gordon was the first; when his ministry commenced and ended, not known. The Rev. Mr. Meldrum comes next, and continues until 1765. Between him and the vestry a long law-suit was carried on, which terminated in his favour. The vestry applied to the Legislature for relief, and obtained it. Mr. Sebastian was recommended by the vestry to the Bishop of London for Orders in 1766, and became their minister, but after two years removed to Northumberland county. The Rev. Mr. Thruston became the minister in 1768, binding himself to preach at seven places scattered over the large parish of Frederick, Shepherdstown being one of them. Mr. Thruston was a native of Gloucester, where the name still abounds, and was captain of the militia in that county. The vestry of Petsworth parish, in Gloucester, recommended him for Orders, and he was their minister for some years before coming to Frederick. Не laid down the ministry and entered the army in 1777. After the war he lived at Mount Zion, in Frederick. In his latter days he removed to the neighbourhood of New Orleans, and, it is said, was . preparing to take some part in defending that place against the British when they were defeated by G eral Jackson. the father of the late Judge Thruston, of the District of Columbia, and the ancestor of many respectable families in Virginia and elsewhere. From the time of Colonel Thruston's resignation in 1777 to the year 1785, there was no minister, so far as we can ascertain. In the year 1785, a vestry was elected, consisting of Colonel R. K. Meade, George F. Norton, church wardens, John Thruston, Edward Smith, Raleigh Colston, Girard Briscoe, John Milton, Robert Wood, Major Thomas Massey. By this vestry the Rev. Alexander Balmaine was chosen minister. He had been chaplain in the army of the Revolution, in which a number of the above-mentioned vestrymen had served. Mr. Balmaine was born in Scotland, in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh, in the year 1740, was educated at St. Andrews with a view to the Presbyterian ministry, but relinquished the design. Himself and his brother, who was a lawyer, were warm friends of the Colonists in the Stamp Act difficulties, and became so obnoxious on that account to the loyalists about Edinburgh, that they thought it best to try their fortunes elsewhere, and moved to London, where they became acquainted with Mr. Arthur Lee, who recommended Mr. Balmaine to the family of Richard Henry Lee, as private tutor. While there, he prepared

for the ministry of the Episcopal Church, and upon receiving Ordlers became rector of Augusta parish, then extending to the Ohio River, and including, it is believed, Pittsburg itself, for he paid several visits to the Episcopalians in that place. When our difficulties commen with England, true to his principles adopted in Scotland, he took an early and active part, was chairman of the Committee of Safety in Augusta, and drafted the resolution adopted by that committee. Soon after this, he entered the Virginia line as chaplain, and continued so until the very close of the war. Mr. Balmaine was the rector of the parish of Frederick until his death. I was his assistant during a number of the last years of his life.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »